I do not think any company has been in the news more over the past few months than Chick-fil-A (Progressive is probably a close second). Despite a sticky situation, Chick-fil-A used the, what could have been bad, publicity to their advantage. Let me fill you in on what happened…
During an interview with the Baptist Press that was published in July, Dan Cathy, Chick-fil-A’s Chief Operating Officer and President, reinforced the company’s stance on gay marriage, stating that Chick-fil-A is “very much supportive of the family—the Biblical definition of the family unit.”
The company’s Facebook page and Twitter account was flooded with negative comments from both proponents of and participants in same-sex marriage. Just as many of Chick-fil-A’s biggest supporters fired back, expressing their love for the company and how encouraging it was to them that there are still American businesses that have not compromised their values over time.
To make matters worse, Chick-fil-A’s Vice President of Public Relations, Donald Perry, died of a heart attack in the heat of the crisis.
Within days, Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day was established as a Facebook campaign. More than 600,000 claimed that they were planning to visit Chick-fil-A August 1, 2012 to show their support, and many franchises ran out of food before the close of business.
The chatter died down after Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, until word spread that Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and Chicago Alderman Joe Moreno contended that they would not allow a Chick fil A location to be established in their area.
The latest news about the Chick-fil-A is that the company has chosen to no longer fund organizations that support Biblical marriage, such as Focus on the Family.
From a public relations standpoint, I think to avoid the initial controversy altogether, Cathy could have stated the company’s values differently. From a Christian point of view, Cathy made the right decision to make known Chick fil A’s stance on marriage.
What do you think? Did you attend Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day? If so, how was your experience? I’d love to hear about it.